[Hpn] even more on SF's media gentrification wars

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Wed, 05 Sep 2001 13:28:40 -0700


San Francisco BAY GUARDIAN
September 5, 2001


THE DAILY PAPERS are chock-full of hysterical reportage on the Market
Street-Sixth Street axis. The cub scouts at the Fangzaminer paint the area
as a hellish wasteland of human poop, porn shops, marauding thugs, dope
dealers, hookers, and homeless panhandlers that should be transformed into a
"tourist haven." Standing in the way of this glorious transformation are
shiftless public officials  notably Mayor Willie Brown and District
Attorney Terence Hallinan.

At least, I think that's what the paper's saying. It's hard to divine the
meaning of sentences like "Many of them pointed to the killing as a reason
for District Attorney Terence Hallinan having a reputation for being lax on
prosecuting low-level drug crimes." Fangzaminer scribe Zoe Mezzin dropped
that indecipherable nugget in a July 22 story.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Rob Morse  who seems to be channeling the
spirit of ex-supervisor Amos Brown  described the neighborhood as a
"maelstrom of human madness, sadness and badness" in a recent column. (Call
the plagiarism police! I'm pretty sure he lifted that line from Green Eggs
and Ham.) Morse claims that "misguided paternalism" toward homeless people
has turned San Francisco into "the biggest outdoor toilet in the world," and
he wants city leaders to ... well, he hasn't quite spelled that out yet.

Last week I dropped by Sixth Street to talk to folks about the media
histrionics. There I met Pat, a 44-year-old woman who lives on Sixth 
literally: she sleeps on a cardboard box on the sidewalk.

Did you know there are plans to spend millions of dollars redeveloping this

"Are they gonna build any affordable housing?"

Uh, judging by the news stories I've read, that doesn't seem to be a high
priority. So why do you think there are so many homeless folks in this town?

"Same reason as me: lack of affordable housing. Everybody I know, their name
is on waiting lists [for shelter]. There's just no housing available."

What about drugs? How much of a role do crack and smack play?

"Because people have no place to stay  a lot. What else are you going to do
with your time? What else are you going to do?"

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